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Send in the Clowns: The Ballads of Stephen Sondheim
     

Send in the Clowns: The Ballads of Stephen Sondheim

 

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When one thinks of ballads, one generally thinks of love songs, which may be one reason why Stephen Sondheim's songs have resisted being separated from the shows for which they were written to become pop hits. Sondheim has written many ballads in the sense of songs that have strong melodies, slow tempos, and reflective lyrics, but he hasn't written many

Overview

When one thinks of ballads, one generally thinks of love songs, which may be one reason why Stephen Sondheim's songs have resisted being separated from the shows for which they were written to become pop hits. Sondheim has written many ballads in the sense of songs that have strong melodies, slow tempos, and reflective lyrics, but he hasn't written many straightforward love songs. This collection, drawn from RCA Victor's catalog of cast albums and other Sondheim-related recordings, gives a good indication of the kind of subjects that interest the songwriter. As annotator Daniel Guss suggests, several of these songs have attracted numerous cover versions -- "Not a Day Goes By," "Not While I'm Around," and "Losing My Mind," in particular -- but only the title song is what can be called a hit or a standard in the general sense. Even when a song seems to express a simple romantic sentiment, those aware of the context in which it used in the show know it is masking something darker. "Pretty Women" is sung by the murderous barber Sweeney Todd with Judge Turpin, whose throat he is preparing to cut; "Not While I'm Around" is a duet in which Mrs. Lovett, another character in Sweeney Todd, decides she'll have to dispose of Toby, who is singing the song to her; and "Unworthy of Your Love" is a duet by two presidential assassins explaining the perverted devotion that leads them to their desperate acts. On the other hand, "Finishing the Hat" is a triumph of romantic restraint in which Georges Seurat justifies painting over living a normal life. This is not, then, an album of conventional love songs, but it is an album containing some great theater songs, sung by some of the theater's greatest performers of the last quarter of the 20th century.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/04/2009
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886974927624
catalogNumber:
749276
Rank:
57046

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Barbara Cook   Vocals
Mandy Patinkin   Vocals
Cleo Laine   Vocals
Julie Andrews   Vocals
Bernadette Peters   Vocals
Jerry Hadley   Vocals
Victor Garber   Vocals
New York Philharmonic   Performing Ensemble
Stephen Collins   Vocals
Paul Gemignani   Conductor
Annie Golden   Vocals
Jonathan Tunick   Conductor
Angela Lansbury   Vocals
Michael Rupert   Vocals
American Theatre Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
George Hearn   Vocals
Timothy Higgs   Piano
David Kernan   Vocals
Carolann Page   Vocals
Kenneth Jennings   Vocals

Technical Credits

Stephen Sondheim   Lyricist
Jay David Saks   Producer
Jonathan Tunick   Orchestration
Thomas Z. Shepard   Producer
Daniel Guss   Liner Notes

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